Creating Work Blog

Are You Creating More Work For Yourself?

Posted by Audrey Ehrhardt, Esquire, CBC

Most of us share a similar goal: Work smarter, not harder. But are we actually setting ourselves up to work longer and longer hours with no end in sight?

Believe me, we are not alone in this belief. Today, according to a new report from the International Labour Organization (ILO) the average American works an average of 1,750 hours per year which is tremendously higher than other developed countries. Add to that the dismaying research that most attorneys only capture 2.5 billable time per eight hour day. When you put those together you may be in place where you are not only working more but also not able to capitalize on a true work day due to all the admin (or not legal) work you need to complete each day.

So what can we do? Luckily, there are actions we can take right now to take back our time and our sanity.

1. Develop a law practice system. A law practice system is how you want your firm to operate on a daily basis. Overall, your law practice system should enhance your casework efficiency, improve organization, and automate routine tasks. The journey starts with what you want to see happen in your practice to effectively assist your clients and potential clients on a daily basis. Before you utilize software, you want to think through what you want. This will allow you to develop your law practice management system so you can streamline administrative processes and be able to focus more on doing only what you can do in advocating for your clients and managing your law firm. 

2. Invest in using the tools and software you purchased to the fullest. That law practice management software that is supposed to take back hours of your time each day? Build it out so it works. That organizational board that will keep your case progress on track? Learn to adapt it to your practice model. That snazzy tablet you could bring into client meetings to streamline the meeting process? Invest the time you need to yourself to use it. (Not sure you need all those tools? Check out our article on that one.)

3. Do only what you can do. This means you have to learn, first, what only you can do. Second, you have to train yourself to delegate. Keep a pad of paper on your desk this week and start a list to write down everything you are doing on a daily basis. At the end of the week, set aside time to review this list and candidly assess what you should (and should not) be doing.

4. Get accountable with your delegation. Just because you assign it doesn’t mean it will get done. You need to train your legal team members and then follow through with them so they know how to operate independently, in other words: without you. You won’t be able to both help them grow as professionals and leverage their success if you are always holding their hand or, worse, looking over their shoulder. 

5. Stop doing everything. Just stop. While it seems easy to say, it is much harder to accomplish. Identify where you need help. Make a list. Refine it. Identify where you are truly doing more than you should be doing and what those tasks are. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’ve heard that one right? It also wasn’t built by one person. What help do you need to reach your Rome?

We know your practice needs to work for you not against you. More importantly, we know you do not need the added stress of doing everything for your firm.  In order to stem the hemorrhaging of your time though, you need to take action. But where do you start? Let’s talk about it! Use this link to schedule a free 30 minute Practice42 Strategy Session with us so we can share with you how we can help you reach your goals for taking back your time and overall success in your law firm!

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